Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) voted to pass H.R.1620, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (VAWA). H.R. 1620 makes vital improvements to programs and laws dealing with gender-based violence, addressing gaps in current law based on extensive consultation with victim service providers, law enforcement, and other experts.

“One in four women experience severe physical abuse from an intimate partner in their lifetime,” said Congresswoman Ross. “As this troubling statistic shows, there is a moral imperative to pass this reauthorization of VAWA and provide resources to help women live free from the fear of violence. Since my time in the North Carolina State House, I have championed the rights of victims of domestic violence. I’m proud my two amendments are included in this vital legislation, and I urge the Senate to take it up as soon as possible.”

H.R. 1620 includes two Ross-led amendments. The first amendment aims to protect the safety and privacy of survivors by creating a statutory mandate that a victim’s safety should be central to housing decisions made by covered housing providers.

The second amendment allows certain grants in the bill to be used to create databases detailing where sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) nurses are located. In North Carolina, SANE nurses can be difficult to locate, and some survivors of assault have to travel to multiple hospitals or wait hours for a SANE nurse to come on duty. Congresswoman Ross spoke on the House Floor today highlighting these two amendments.

The landmark Violence Against Women Act of 1994 ushered in transformative progress by calling for the protection of all Americans from violence and abuse and working to ensure survivors have access to essential services and justice. Congress has reauthorized VAWA numerous times to improve protections and access to safety and justice for all survivors.  Since 1994, the rate of domestic violence has declined by 63 percent. This reauthorization of VAWA will help further reduce that rate.